This is a story I wrote for my creative writing class. It's a creative nonfiction piece, which is not what I'm used to, so here's how it went.
I don't know why I did it. But can you really blame a six-year-old? I had just learned how to write, and future English major that I was, I decided I had to scribble my name and those of my family all over everything. On the walls, on paper scraps from the recycling bins, on filing cabinets, on empty boxes, and on my dresser. The problem with writing on my dresser, however, was that the pencil wouldn't stick. I needed something sharper.
That "something sharper" turned out to be one of my dad's spare keys that were just lying around.
There they were. The words Meggie and Jillie were scratched into the paint of the dresser that I shared with my younger sister. I smiled proudly at my intricate and incredible design. I'd never before accomplished such a masterpiece. This was sure to make everyone happy.
Oh, how wrong I had been.
"Meghan Lucille Welsh!" I heard my dad's call from the opposite side of the house. My heart sank. I knew that tone. Something I had done had made him angry. What could it have possibly been? I was an angel child, and I never did anything wrong. My parents never saw it my way.
Dread filled the pit of my stomach with lead at his next words. "Meghan, you come back here this instant!" I could hear his voice getting closer. I knew that if I didn't get up now, he would come into the living room and give me The Look. Feeling like Wendy while she was walking Captain Hook's plank, I trudged down the hallway to my room, dragging my feet heavily.
"Meghan, I want to show you something," my dad said, calm now that I'd done as he requested and gone to my room. He drew me into the dimly lit bedroom filled with blues and greens, and brought me to my Minnie Mouse dresser. On it were the words I had so proudly scratched into it before. My name, and underneath it, my sister's. "Did you do this?"
I looked at the dresser. To me, it looked beautiful. What could be prettier than my own writing? But my dad obviously didn't like it. I knew I would be in trouble.
I wanted to cry to him, let him know that his criticizing my artwork hurt my feelings, but the desire to avoid punishment overrode that feeling. "No," I said mutinously.
"Really?" he asked in all seriousness. "Then who did it?"
"Jillie," I said. "I saw her."
"Did you?" he asked. His blue eyes seemed to bore into mine and I gave him my most innocent, cute six-year-old face. He raised an eyebrow, and left my room. In that moment, the dread I had been feeling since he'd called me into my room washed out of me as though I'd poked a hole in a water balloon.
Someone taped up the hole as soon as my dad came back in with my older brother and sister and a Steno pad.
"We're going to have a test," my dad said, giving each of us a pencil or a pen and a piece of paper. "Just to be safe, we'll have Derek take the test as well. I want all three of you to write our last name on the paper."
Derek smiled. "Okay, Daddy," he said and took the pen from him. He wrote, neatly and in very large letters, a clear .. The extra periods were funny. Even though I'd only just learned how to write, I knew that that wasn't right.
Clever me, I knew what I had to do. I would write my name just like Derek had. My parents weren't nearly as quick as I was, so it wouldn't be possible for my dad to tell that I had tricked him. With my tongue between my teeth, I carefully scratched out a Meggie .. My handwriting came out very different from Derek's, but I'd dotted my W. It would be clear to my dad that it hadn't been me who drew the artful masterpiece on the dresser.
"Ok, Jillie, it's your turn," my dad said, giving the pencil to her. "Can you write 'Welsh' on this piece of paper for me?"
My sister smiled with all the charm of her three years. In that smile I saw my doom. I knew she couldn't write. My dad had outsmarted me. I could almost hear the jail doors locking. Not only had I carved in my dresser, but I had lied about doing that. Lying always got me in worse trouble than anything else.
She gripped her pencil in a tiny fist. She was holding it all wrong. Welsh wouldn't come out at all with a grip like that.
The pencil touched down on the paper. I held my breath. She began drawing it across the surface of the Steno pad, slowly but carefully. A line came out. The line continued going. Loops formed on the paper.
There was only one thing in the world at that moment that could get me in trouble, and my sister was drawing it. Anger towards her filled my heart, and I wished that my sister had never been born.
When she brought the pencil away from the paper, everyone looked at it. My dad raised an eyebrow. I knew in that moment that he'd seen right through my lies. Looking down at the paper that had convicted me, I picked it up and tore it in half. Trouble would be catching me. And it was all because of one little sister, and one big scribble.